Fiber is a key part of a healthy diet, especially if you’re trying to maintain regularity. It's most commonly found in foods like fruits, nuts and vegetables, but it can also be found in grains and cereals.
However, despite the clear health benefits of fiber and high-fiber diets, not all sources of fiber are the same in terms of calories or your body's ability to digest them.
Whether you're trying to make more of your meals from scratch or just trying to make healthier food choices, it's important to understand how much fiber is there in the foods you eat. It's also important to choose the right type of fiber for your diet and overall health.
Why is fiber important for your health?
Fiber delivers a lot of health benefits, like:
- helps you lose weight
- Reduces cholesterol and blood sugar levels
- Reduces your chances of getting heart disease and stroke.
- Lowers your risk for diabetes, improves digestive function and bowel health
- Feeds healthy gut bacteria that keep you well
- Lowers risk of colorectal cancer and breast cancer.
In short, 'dietary fiber' is an all-encompassing term for the parts of plants and other foods that your body can’t digest. Fiber passes through your system—without being digested—and soothes symptoms such as constipation.
Fiber does the dirty job in the digestive system, but it doesn't get nearly as much attention as vitamin D, calcium and other nutrients.
To keep your digestive system working smoothly, it's critical to consume the right quantity of fiber. Fiber has a variety of health benefits in addition to digestion, such as weight loss and gut bacteria balance.
Recommended Fiber Intake
The Food and Drug Administration recommends that adults get 28 gram of fiber every day, but this number can vary depending on gender and age.
The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest that women under 50 should have 25 to 28 gram of fiber daily, while men under 50 should consume 31 to 34 gram.
Women 51 and older should get 22 gram of fiber every day, while men 51 and older should consume 28 gram of fiber daily.
How to Increase Your Fiber Intake?
Having high fiber food is the best way to get fiber without ingesting too many calories. Fiber is found in most vegetables, fruits and other plant-based diets.
Spread up your servings over numerous meals instead of having a large amount in one sitting if your body is slowly adjusting to extra fiber. Here are different ways to add fiber in your diet:
1) Fruit Salad
A fruit salad is a delicious addition to any meal and is also a dessert. It doesn't have to be complex; simply mix together some of your favourite fruits and dress with a little fruit juice or yogurt. To add even more fiber, toss in a few nuts and seeds.
2) Orange juice
We're not implying that orange juice is bad for you. It is high in vitamins and minerals. When you have an orange whole, you get a lot more fiber, though; it's juicy and sweet, and you receive all the vitamins and minerals.
The fiber content of one whole orange is 3.7 gram. Only 0.6 gram of fiber are included in a glass of orange juice (6.75 ounces).
3) Having potato skin
The skin of a potato contains a lot of fiber, so there's no reason you can't incorporate it into your recipe; even mashed potatoes are great when made with unpeeled potatoes.
Pro Tip: Avoid buying potatoes with a greenish skin colour, as they taste bitter.
4) Whole grain bread
Traditional refined white bread has been around for decades, as people prefer its lighter flavour and texture than whole grain bread, which is heavier in both taste and texture. When the bran is removed during the flour-making process, much of the fiber is lost.
Whole grain bread may take some getting used to, but don't be surprised if after a while, you don't want to have plain old white bread anymore.
5) Nuts and Seeds
Walnuts, pecans, almonds, Brazil nuts,and cashews, for example, are high in fiber, protein and healthy fats. They're ideal for a mid-afternoon snack to keep you going till supper.
Nuts are healthy in any form (raw or roasted), but flavoured and sugar-coated nuts are high in calories.
Yogurt is a good source of calcium, protein and probiotic bacteria. Top a velvety smooth Greek yogurt with blueberries, raspberries or strawberries for a superfood dessert. For added fiber, add a few almonds or granola. Drizzle honey on top to add a touch of sweetness.
There are many factors to consider when determining the ideal amount of dietary fiber to consume. The best way to know how much your body needs is by listening to your body. Listen to your body’s hunger cues, and limit over-indulging on foods that cause gas or other digestive discomfort.
While fiber intake may be more important than experts previously believed, figuring out just how much fiber you should be having can be difficult. Consult with a doctor or nutritionist before making any sudden changes to your diet, and always stay hydrated.
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